Monday was a pretty crazy day in the Chiefs Kingdom. Everything started off like normal, but by mid morning a worrisome story took over the Chiefs blogosphere. Jamaal Charles had been “carted off the field” during the Chiefs morning practice in St. Joseph. Now it turns out that “carted off” actually meant he walked over to the trainers and then rode in a golf “cart” with the trainer up the big hill to where the locker room and training facility are. Not quite the same thing, but I’m just glad it turns out that Charles’ injury doesn’t appear to be serious.
The excitement around this event overshadowed a glimpse into the coaching style of new Chiefs head coach Andy Reid that was provided by legendary football writer Peter King. King had spent time at Chiefs camp over the weekend and had a nice write up about Reid and the Chiefs in his Monday Morning Quarterback column.
Side Note: If you love football and don’t read King’s MMQB every Monday, you’re missing out. He’s the best in the business (in my opinion) and his new MMQB website is filled with great stuff. It’s the same sight that featured current Chief Austen Lane’s piece on what it’s like to get cut from an NFL team. On a personal note, Peter King is my answer to the question “If you could have anyone in the world’s job, who would it be?”
Okay, back to my point….
In his MMQB piece he had some quotes from starting left tackle Branden Albert about what kind of coach Andy Reid is. I found it to be very insightful. Here are the quotes from Albert, but I highly recommend reading the entire piece.
“I knew he loved offensive linemen—that’s what I heard,” said tackle Brandon Albert. “But I never had a coach who knew the offensive line before like coach Andy. He gets down and actually teaches us little technique things. One day out there, in this thing we call the cut-off drill, he’s out there sprawled on the ground showing us the right technique. I don’t see many coaches doing that. You say, ‘Wow, our head coach is really into line play.’
“The other thing about coach Andy: This is a hard game. Sometimes I think coaches forget that. I mean, I’ve got Tamba Hali over me. Sometimes I’m going to get beat. I understand if I get beat I’ve got to do it better, and I’ve got to have better technique. But the attitude here, with this staff, is not to yell and tell you how you messed up. It’s ‘Okay, on to the next play. Make the next play great.’ Then, we’re watching tape after practice, and I see what I did wrong, and I’m taught the right thing. Like, ‘Stop ducking your head.’ To me, that’s the right way to teach. That gets your players wanting to play hard for a coaching staff.”
I found that to be VERY encouraging. Branden Albert isn’t a rookie. This is a veteran player talking about how much he appreciates all the positive instruction he is getting on how to get better. I’m on record as being a Todd Haley fan (although he clearly made mistakes and had a number of faults) but even I have to admit that it seems that Andy Reid is far and away the best coach that the Chiefs have seen in a number of years.
However, the insights into his coaching this week didn’t stop there. In honor of the San Francisco 49ers facing their former #1 overall pick, the Sacramento Bee’s Matt Barrows did an interview with Alex Smith. The entire interview is excellent and you can read it HERE. However, the highlight for me was another insight into Reid’s coaching. Barrows is asking Alex about the differences and similarities between Reid and his former coach in San Francisco, Jim Harbaugh. In the process he asks the following question:
Did Harbaugh emphasize footwork?
AS: He was a big into-fundemental guy. Andy is even more, I think. Andy is very detailed about it. I’ve had a lot of coaches over the years, and as a quarterback your biggest pet peeve is that, you throw a ball too high and he tells you to get it down, right? It’s like, ‘Well, thanks. I could have told you that. We all know that.’ Coach Reid’s so great at why. Why did you throw that too high. And talking to you about that: ‘Hey, you’re standing up too tall and your front shoulder went up.’ He does such a great job of doing that. Right there on the spot, he sees it.
Again, I find this very encouraging. Yet again, a player is talking about how good Reid is at providing them with specific coaching to fix specific problems, and doing it in a way that the player responds positively to. I don’t know what more you could ask for in a coach.
I don’t know what the Chiefs record will be this season, but I do feel pretty confident that it will be the best coached team that KC has put on the field since Dick Vermeil retired. It still ultimately comes down to the talent of the players on the field, but good coaches get the most out of their talent. Last year no team in the NFL got less out of their talent than the Kansas City Chiefs.
That’s about to change.
The Chiefs may be 0-2 in the preseason so far. That means very little. The team has shown some flashes and although they have a long ways to go to be a Super Bowl contender, they now have the caliber of coaching in place to make those improvements.